Notes on 15 prospects, including Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro and Dodgers lefty Jarret Martin.
Hitter of the Day: Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers (Surprise Saguaros): 3-4, 2 R, 2B. Alfaro is quickly becoming the second-best catching prospect in the game (behind only Austin Hedges). With plus power and a plus-plus arm, the only real flaw in his game is his plate discipline, but when you hit .409 like he is this fall, no one cares.
Pitcher of the Day: Jarret Martin, LHP, Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs): 1 IP, H, 3 K. Lefties with 97-mph fastballs get lots of chances for reasons like this. Martin sits in the low-to-mid 90s and has been mostly 92-93 this fall, but it hasn’t helped him throw strikes more often, having walked 16 batters in 14 1/3 innings for the Desert Dogs. Martin isn’t a more well-known prospect because he generally has no idea how to throw strikes or use his velocity, but when he does, it’s pretty awesome.
Notes on 12 prospects, including Athletics shortstop Addison Russell and Cubs right-hander Dallas Beeler.
Hitter of the Day: Addison Russell, SS, A’s (Mesa Solar Sox): 3-5, R, 2B, K. There were a few questions about Russell when he was drafted in 2012, but there are very few surrounding him now. Still shy of his 20th birthday, Russell has handled every assignment put in front of him to this point and is now hitting .307 in the AFL. The strikeouts are a little bit of a concern, but as long as he keeps producing, no one will notice.
Pitcher of the Day: Dallas Beeler, RHP, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 5 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Coming off a start in which he allowed seven unearned runs, Beeler was strong on Monday, pounding the strike zone and generating weak contact.
Jason chats with the Cardinals' top pitching prospect.
When the Cardinals selected Michael Wacha 19th overall in last year’s draft, the right-hander was widely regarded as a polished arm who could potentially zoom to the major leagues. While that has proven to be true––Wacha reached St. Louis less than a year after he was drafted––he’s showing to be more than just a “safe” pick.
The Texas A&M product put himself in the big-league discussion this spring by yielding one unearned run in 11.2 innings out of the bullpen, walking one and striking out 15 while flashing 95-98 mph velocity. The impressive performance yielded an aggressive assignment to Triple-A Memphis out of camp.
The Situation: After 82 starts, 447 minor-league innings, and four seasons as a top 10 prospect across two organizations, Jarred Cosart will make his first major-league start. He draws the Tampa Bay Rays and defending AL Cy Young winner David Price.
Background: Cosart was a 38th-round selection for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 first-year player draft, signing for late-second-round money out of Clear Creek High School (League City, TX). A two-way Missouri commit, Cosart immediately switched to the mound full time when he entered the Phillies system.
Royals righty Kyle Zimmer and Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings stole the show on a night when several of the minor leagues were off.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 13 K. On this night, Zimmer looked exactly like the pitcher the Royals envisioned when he was selected fifth overall in 2012. Zimmer’s fastball was working 96-97 with more life and good control and command. The curveball was an absolutely dominant pitch at 79-83 with hard downward snap. He used the slider and changeup sparingly, but that is okay with me, and here is why: I’ve talked to many people in the industry who have been confused by Zimmer’s shortcomings earlier in the year. I can give you a multitude of excuses or responses on why he had these shortcomings, but the underlying point was always, “Well, the stuff is still really good!” The only realistic theory that made sense to me was that Zimmer was going to his slider, his worst pitch, far too often. This may be something that the Royals encouraged him to do for developmental reasons, but I believe this recent success should be attributed to the fact that he is attacking hitters with his best offerings; 20.0 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 26 K in last 3 starts.
Position Prospect of the Day: Chris Owings, SS, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno): 4-4, 3 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI. The arrow is pointing upward for Owings, and as you’ll see with many of these players, something more in-depth is on the way in the very near future; .348/.369/.481 with 23 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, and 15 SB in 399 at-bats.
What teams (and other researchers) can do to find out what makes their prospects tick.
Time to put on my other hat. Let's leave the wonderful world of sabermetrics behind for a few minutes and venture into the world of psychometrics. In one of my former lives, I conducted (neuro)psychological testing, mostly on children and adolescents, as part of my graduate school requirements. I'm proud to say that I administered the Rorschach only once. Because they made me.